February 25, 2009 / 4:18 PM / 11 years ago

Obama taps former governor Locke as commerce chief

Gary Locke, partner and co-chair of China Practice, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, and former governor of Washington State, speaks during the Lowering Barriers to Investing in China's Small Businesses panel at the 2008 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California April 29, 2008. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated former Washington state Governor Gary Locke to be U.S. commerce secretary, turning to a West Coast politician with a history of working with China after his two previous nominees backed out.

“It’s not lost on anyone that we have tried this a couple of times. But I’m a big believer at keeping at something until you get it right,” Obama said.

Locke was the first Chinese American governor in U.S. history. During his two terms as governor from 1997 through 2004 he led eight trade missions to China and opened a Washington state trade office in Guangzhou.

Reporting by Ross Colvin and Doug Palmer; Editing by Sandra Maler

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